“Enough is enough, we cannot keep suffering till eternity,” the Union Home Minister had once said while voicing for a united India. Since then, he has been working hard by aligning all the stars in the firmament to achieve the goal that we all Indians dream of.
Call him the ‘Chanakya’ of Indian Politics or the ‘Master Strategist’ or the ‘New Iron Man’ of India, Shah clearly defines these tags given to him in more than a way.
A sneak peek into his life & career
Born to Smt. Kusumben and Shri Anilchandra Shah, a well-to-do Gujarati family, in Mumbai in 1964, Shah lived and studied in his paternal village Maansa in Gujarat till the age of 16. After completion of his school education, the family shifted to Ahmedabad. As a child, the stories of great patriots used to be a source of inspiration to him.
During his stay in Ahmedabad, he was immensely fascinated by the nationalist spirit of Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangha (RSS). The urge within him was so much so that he became an active member of RSS. This acted as a springboard for young Shah.
After working for over four years for the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the RSS, he scaled another step and became a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Defining moment in Politics
His first assignment was to do the job of a poll agent at Ahmedabad’s Naranpura ward, marking his foray into politics. Successful completion of the assignment got him the post of secretary of Naranpura ward. And here too he dazzled and made himself capable of bigger responsibilities.
By then, he had already emerged as a person to be reckoned with. For a young Shah for whom serving the motherland was a childhood desire, the offer of National treasurer of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) was like a dream come true. Here too he was nonpareil.
The proverb ‘Success Begets Success” was once again proved. This time it was by the flamboyant Shah. He was made State secretary and then State Vice-President of Gujarat. With these posts, he went on honing his organisational skills and became dearer to party workers.
Acknowledging his leadership talent, he was made in-charge of Ahmedabad city. His mass mobilization of people in favour of Ram Janambhoomi and Ekta Yatra earned him plaudits from seniors like L K Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Then he was entrusted with the charge of managing election campaigning of L K Advani in Ahmedabad and became famous among seniors and juniors as a successful election manager. When A B Vajpayee was contesting from Gandhinagar, he was also at the helm of the election management. His successful stint earned him the sobriquet ‘Modern-day Chanakya’
His entry into election arena
The BJP came to power in Gujarat in 1995 but was short-lived as it lasted till 1997. In 1997, he entered into the election arena as he was nominated as the BJP’s candidate from Sarkhej Assembly constituency. He won the election with a margin of 25,000 votes.
Thanks to effective poll management by Shah, the party made it to the power under Chief Minister Narendra Modi in 2002. He too retained his Sarkhej seat for the third time in a row. This time, he won with a huge margin of 1,58,036 votes. Though he was given ministries of Home, Transport and Prohibition, he was appreciated for his work as the Home Minister of Gujarat.
In 2007, he was once again elected from the same seat but this time with a whooping margin of 2,32,832 votes.
His encounter with challenges
In 2010, Shah had to spend around three months in jail. The then UPA government slapped a fake encounter charge against Shah following which he was arrested and imprisoned. Later, the case turned out to be politically motivated and a special CBI court absolved him of all the charges.
His role in government formation in the Centre
It was his vision, hard work and unmatched poll management skill that helped his party cross the 272-mark in Lok Sabha in 2014 and form the government on its own strength.
His role in making BJP world’s largest party
In 2014, Shah was made the party’s president. With a view to increasing the party’s membership and spreading party ideology, he toured the warp and weft of the nation. His labour paid off and the number of members crossed the Rubicon of 10 crores.
His major non-political assignments
It was when the BJP rose to power in Gujarat in 1995, albeit for a short period, Shah was made the Chairman of Gujarat State Financial Corporation. Here too he showed his managerial skills. Within months, the company’s fortune started to shine and it was listed on the Stock Exchange.
In 1998 all the cooperative societies minus one were being controlled by the Congress. It was Shah’s strategic movement due to which the party started to win one by one society. His major achievement in this sphere is that he made Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank not only a profitable one but also the largest district cooperative bank in Asia. Because of his experience, he was made the national convener of the party’s cooperative committee in 2001.
He also served as the chairman of the Gujarat State Chess Association. During this period, he introduced Chess in government schools as a pilot project.
Similarly, in 2007 he became the Vice-Chairman of the Gujarat State Cricket Association (Narendra Modi was the Chairman), thereby ending the 16-year-old Congress’s control over the association.